Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS5036859 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 07/246,402
Publication dateAug 6, 1991
Filing dateSep 19, 1988
Priority dateJul 26, 1988
Fee statusPaid
Publication number07246402, 246402, US 5036859 A, US 5036859A, US-A-5036859, US5036859 A, US5036859A
InventorsKeith A. Brown
Original AssigneeTravis International, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Urination
US 5036859 A
Abstract
An apparatus which detects urination by a user includes a urine sensing pad for placement over the pubic and/or perianal areas of a user. The sensing pad includes a pair of electrodes on a backing sheet, and an absorbent cover sheet which is glued or heat sealed to the backing sheet. An indicator box is carried by the user and coupled to the sensing pad for generating a digitally encoded signal when urine moistens the pad and completes a circuit which includes the electrodes. Either a local alarm or remote signal is triggered by the indicator.
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(4)
I claim:
1. An apparatus for detecting urination by a user, the apparatus comprising:
a urine sensor means adapted to be carried by said user for detecting urination by the use, the urine sensor means including first and second separated electrodes which form a portion of an electrical circuit path, the conductivity of the portion of the circuit path between the electrodes increasing upon the presence of urine between the electrodes;
transmitter means adapted to be carried by said user and electrically coupled to said urine sensor means for generating and transmitting a digitally encoded signal in response to sensing by said sensor means of urine between said electrodes;
said urine sensor means comprising a urine sensing pad having a backing which supports said first and second electrodes, said first and second electrodes comprising a dried electrically conductive polymer liquid positioned on the backing to define the first and second electrodes; and
attachment means for detachably securing said transmitter means to said sensing pad and establishing electrical conductivity therebetween, said attachment means further comprising flexible extension means for allowing the positioning of said transmitter means to extend away from said sensing pad such that said transmitter means can be draped on the outside of a garment when said apparatus is in use.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a diaper having an inner face and an outer face, said urine sensing pad being positioned against said inner face, and said transmitter means being positioned against said outer face.
3. An apparatus for detecting urination by a user, the apparatus comprising:
a urine sensing pad means for placement in a garment worn by said user, said pad means including an absorbent which supports first and second separated electrodes which form a portion of an electrical circuit path, the conductivity of the portion of the circuit path between the electrodes increasing upon the presence of liquid between the electrodes;
an indicator means encased in a sterilizable material and adapted to be carried by said user outside said garment for generating a digitally encoded signal in response to sensing by said sensing pad means of urine between said electrodes; and
extension means for interconnecting and electrically coupling said pad means and indicator means such that said indicator means can be draped on the outside of said garment when said apparatus is in use.
4. An apparatus for detecting urination by a user, the apparatus comprising:
a urine sensor means adapted to be carried by said user for detecting urination by the user, the urine sensor means including first and second separated electrodes which form a portion of an electrical circuit path, the conductivity of the portion of the circuit path between the electrodes increasing upon the presence of urine between the electrodes;
transmitter means adapted to be carried by said user and electrically coupled to said urine sensor means for generating and transmitting a digitally encoded signal in response to sensing by said sensor means of urine between said electrodes; and
attachment means for detachably securing said transmitter means to said urine sensor means and establishing electrical conductivity therebetween, said attachment means further comprising flexible extension means for allowing the positioning of said transmitter means to extend away from said urine sensor means such that said transmitter means can be draped on the outside of a garment when said apparatus is in use.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 224,300, filed July 26, 1988, now abandoned, invented by Keith A. Brown, and entitled WOUND LIQUID DISCHARGE DETECTOR AND PATIENT MONITORING SYSTEM.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device for detecting unintentional urination by users, such as children during the night. The invention also relates to moisture sensing pads for sensing moisture from a user, with such pads, for example, being disposed adjacent the groin or perianal area of a user for detecting moisture.

A number of urine sensing or anti-bed-wetting devices have heretofore been employed to train enuretic children to awake in time to empty their bladders and avoid bed-wetting.

A common early approach consisted of placing metallic grids under a bed sheet, the grids being separated by absorbent but non-conductive materials such as cotton cloth. In such devices a flow of urine into the absorbent materials completes a circuit between the grids and activates a bedside alarm after urination. In this case, the previously non-conducting dry cloth is made conductive by the urine. These devices suffered from the disadvantage of a moderate delay between the onset of urination and the sounding of an alarm. This is particularly disadvantageous because the most effective training is achieved by waking an individual immediately by an alarm upon the onset of urination and prior to the time that the individual's bladder become substantially empty. There is also the inconvenience necessitated by changes of bed linen during the night.

In the past several years, different devices have been proposed which are portable and which have an electrode containing pad disposed in the groin area of a user. A conductive path is provided between the electrodes upon urination and an alarm sounds. These devices do decrease the time between the onset of urination and the triggering of an alarm and also have the advantage of at least theoretically reducing the amount of urine flowing into the bed.

However, such prior devices have suffered from a number of disadvantages. For example, some devices have been less than completely acceptable to many children because of the bulkiness of the devices in the groin area. Also, some prior devices employ a long length of rather stiff uncomfortable electrical cord coupled from a urine sensing pad in the groin area to an alarm, such as on the wrist or shoulder of the user. Another disadvantage of some previous devices is the use of a relatively small urine sensor in the groin area of a user. Such sensors are subject to being missed by flow of urine from a user and are thereby subject to failing to trigger an alarm. Also, other prior devices have electronic components and connectors which are exposed to highly corrosive urine.

Prior devices have also not been suitable for use in monitoring multiple children at home, or with patients in a hospital or nursing home. The alarms on such prior devices have typically sounded locally in the user's room where it could not be heard during the night by parents or medical personnel.

In addition, for children under about two years of age or incontinent individuals, it can be desirable not to have a local alarm triggered upon moisture emission by such individuals. Local alarms can unduly excite or traumatize these individuals. Yet, it is desirable to monitor these individuals so that their undergarments can be changed promptly when wet. Heretofore, devices used for monitoring children in pretoilet training years (i.e. up to age 2-3) from remote locations are unknown.

Therefore, a need exists for an improved device for detecting unintentional urination and also for improved moisture sensing pads for sensing the emission of bodily moisture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a urine sensor which is attached to a user for detecting flow of urine or other liquids from the user. The sensor includes first and second separated electrodes which form a portion of an electrical circuit path. The pressure of liquid between the electrodes completes the electrical circuit, and causes a transmitter to generate and send a digitally encoded signal which indicates that urination has occurred. The sensor preferably includes a flexible backing member with electrodes made of dried conductive ink. In some embodiments, an absorbent cover sheet overlies the electrodes and is heat sealed to the backing member.

It is accordingly one object of the present invention to provide an improved apparatus for detecting unintentional urination by a user of the apparatus, for preventing bed-wetting and for use in toilet training.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a moisture sensing pad for detecting the presence of urine or other moisture from a person upon the pad.

Another object of the invention is to provide such an apparatus which is suitable for monitoring multiple children at home, or multiple patients in a hospital or nursing home.

Yet another object is to provide such a device that is adaptable to either home or institutional use with children of different ages who are in different stages of learning to control urination.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for detecting unintentional urination by a user, the apparatus having electrical components which are shielded from highly corrosive urine.

As still another aspect of the present invention, the device includes electrical circuit means which reliably sounds an alarm upon urine reaching the sensing pad.

As a further aspect of the present invention, one form of such circuit means includes a transmitter means for sending a coded digital signal upon the presence of urine on the sensing pad. A receiver means at a remote location triggers an alarm upon the reception of the encoded signal from the transmitter means.

As still another aspect of the present invention, the device is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, maintenance free, portable, light weight, durable, and reliable.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become apparent with reference to the following description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an anti-bed wetting apparatus in accordance with the present invention shown in position within an undergarment worn by a user.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary view taken along lines 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, top isometric view illustrating the attachment between a sensor and transmitter of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of a first embodiment of the sensor of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a second embodiment of the sensor of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of a third embodiment of the sensor of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of a fourth embodiment of the sensor of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is an electrical schematic diagram of one form of the urination indicating circuit utilized in the apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is an electrical schematic diagram of another form of the urination indicating circuit utilized in the apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged, top isometric view of the embodiment of a sensor of the type shown in FIG. 5, illustrating respective layers of this form of sensor.

FIG. 11 is a top isometric view of another embodiment of the sensor of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view, taken along section line 12--12, of FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, an apparatus for detecting urination by a user of the apparatus includes a urine detector 10 in which a sensing pad 11 is carried by the user within an undergarment 12, such as pajamas, underpants or a diaper. The pad is elongated, with a flexible backing 13, and can be disposable. The backing can, for example, be made of a moisture impermeable flexible material, such as polypropylene film or closed cell synthetic foam, or other material which is impermeable to urine and easily cleaned. Alternatively, the backing can be liquid absorbent paper or paper towel like material.

The pad 11 has first and second separated electrodes 14, 16 (FIGS. 3 and 5) extending longitudinally along opposing edges of backing 13. The illustrated electrodes 14, 16 are made of a liquid, electrically conductive material which is painted on or otherwise applied to backing 13. The liquid electrode material is allowed to dry or equivalently dried by dryers to form the electrodes. Electrodes made of conductive ink allow backing 13 to remain flexible. The conductive liquid material is preferably a conductive polymer ink, such as that sold by Acheson Colloids of Port Huron, Mich., under product designations SS24340 and SS24353.

An indicator unit 20 is attached to pad 11 and emits a signal when pad 11 is moistened. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, the indicator unit 20 includes a housing 22 which holds a rechargeable nickel cadmium battery 24 and associated electrical circuitry. A charging socket 26 extends through a side wall of container 22 and provides access for a conventional battery charger to recharge battery 24. Housing 22 is typically made liquid impermeable by being dipped in a liquid which adheres to the housing. One such material is a plastic dip from PDI Inc. of Blain, Minn. Plastic dipping of housing 22 facilitates sterilization of indicator unit 20 by submersion or washing. The indicator unit 20 is also thus compact, self-contained and portable. Housing 22 may also, for example, be made of closed celled foam or other suitable material with an operable battery compartment for access to and replacement of a replaceable battery of the unit.

A pair of fasteners such as metallic snaps electrically connect the circuitry 28 (e.g., FIG. 8) to electrodes 14, 16. The metallic snaps include female snap member 30 at the end of an electrically conductive strip 32 and female snap 34 at the end of an electrically conductive strip 36. Of course, strips 32 and 36 may equivalently be replaced with suitable electrical conductive material, such as wire. Strips 32 and 36 may also be encased in plastic with electrical connection to the strips being accomplished by the snaps. Female snap 30 mates with a male snap 39, which pierces electrode 16 and is retained by backing 13 of the pad 11. Female snap 34 mates with a male snap 41 which pierces electrode 14 and is retained by the backing 13 of pad 10. These snap connections 30, 39 and 34, 41, respectively, electrically connect electrode 16 to strip or cord 32 and electrode 14 to strip or cord 36 such that completion of a circuit between electrodes 14, 16 will activate the detector in a manner described below.

Although FIG. 2 shows the cap of snap 30 facing toward the body of a person wearing the device, it is preferable that each of snaps 30, 34 be attached to strips 32, 36 such that snaps 30, 34 are insulated from the body. For example, the snaps 30, 34 should be located entirely between strips 32, 36 and backing 13 to prevent exposing the body to any electrical connections. Alternatively, an insulating member can be placed over the caps of snaps 30, 39 to cushion them and break electrical contact with the body. Finally, it would also be possible for the snaps 30, 39 and 34, 41 to be placed entirely between backing 13 and diaper 12 such that backing 13 insulates and cushions the snaps from the body.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, audible, visual and/or other indicating signals may be emitted when urine moistens the path between electrodes 14, 16 of pad 11. Alternatively, as explained below, such signals may be transmitted to a remote location for indicating the detection of moisture at this remote location, either alone or in conjunction with an indication locally at the user. One form of electrical circuit 28 for providing such discharge indicating signals is shown in greater detail in FIG. 8. A conductor 40 extends from the positive terminal of battery 24 to strip 36 and thereby to electrode 14, where it is attached to the electrode 14 by snaps 34, 41. Similarly, a conductor 42 is coupled from the negative terminal of battery 24 to strip 32 and thereby to electrode 16, where it is attached to the electrode 16 by snaps 30, 39. In FIGS. 3 and 8, a commercially available buzzer 44 is located along the circuit path including conductor 42 and is energized when the circuit shown in FIG. 8 is completed by moisture between electrodes 14, 16. As a result, when liquid is discharged from a user onto pad 11, the buzzer 44 will sound to alert the user (or medical personnel) that the wearer has urinated. The buzzer 44 in the preferred embodiment is plastic, and is available from Star Micronics, under the designation RMV-12 Buzzer. Buzzer 44 can be replaced by or supplemented with other indicator systems such as indicator lights or remote alarms as described later in connection with FIG. 9.

Another embodiment of the detector is shown in FIG. 9 in which the indicator sends a signal to a remote alarm. An optional local buzzer 44 or light may also be used. To avoid trauma to incontinent individuals or children who are too young to be trained, the local alarm is typically eliminated. In such a case, an alarm or indication of wetness will occur at a remote location, as explained below, and not on the user. As FIG. 9 illustrates, a number of separate detectors 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e, and so forth, can be used simultaneously. Each detector includes an indicator unit 20a-e and an associated sensor pad (11a-c being shown). In this embodiment, more than one sensor pad can be in use simultaneously for each user, with each sensor being placed in liquid sensing proximity to an external urethral orifice, for example, in the pubic or perianal area, of the user. Also, multiple sensors may be used with different sensors being carried associated with different persons who are being monitored by the detector. The capability of using multiple sensors allows the use of detectors 10 in institutions such as day care centers, hospitals or nursing homes, where individuals are monitored by nurses or attendants at a common control panel or receiver unit 70 at a monitoring location. Alternatively, the detectors are suitable for home use, for example, for use in monitoring a number of children at home.

Control panel 70 contains indicator lights 72, 74, 76, 78 and 80 or other alarms corresponding to individual detectors 10a-e attached to different persons. When one or more of the patients urinates, the appropriate detectors 72-80 are energized by an output signal from a receiver 81 to identify persons who have urinated such that their clothes or bedding can promptly be changed.

As described in greater detail below, the FIG. 9 system preferably employs a transmitter in each indicator unit 20 which is associated with the respective one of the persons being monitored. Upon the detection of urination, the transmitters send indicating signals to one or more receivers 81 at the console 70. In response to the received signals, appropriate indicators are activated. Instead of transmitting signals directly to the console 70, the signals may be sent from the transmitters to associated relay locations (i.e., 92a, 92b, 92c, 92d and 92e). Receivers at the relay locations produce output signals upon the detection of moisture discharge indicating signals. These receiver output signals are then delivered, for example, over electrical conductors, to the console 70 for activation of the appropriate indicators 72-80.

In connection with the specific form of indicator unit shown in FIG. 9, the conductor 40 is connected to the gate of a silicone control rectifier or thyristor 82. The anode of thyristor 82 is connected to the conductor 42. Also, the cathode of the thyristor is connected to the negative terminal of battery 24. An optional light and/or buzzer 44 may be included in this circuit path, but typically is not. The sounding of a local alarm 44 can unduly excite a young child or others in the child's room. In addition, the conductor 40 is coupled through a resistor 84 to the conductor 42. The circuit of FIG. 9 also includes an encoder/transmitter 86 coupled between the cathode of the thyristor 82 and the negative terminal of the battery 24. With this circuit, upon the presence of an extremely small amount of urine or other liquid between the electrodes 14, 16, the thyristor 82 conducts and allows current to flow to the buzzer 44 (if present) and through transmitter 86. By using a thyristor, the amount of current delivered to the transmitter is not dependent upon the amount of current that flows between the electrodes 14, 16 once a threshold is reached. Therefore, a strong signal is automatically produced almost immediately when liquid is present between the electrodes 14, 16.

When the thyristor 82 conducts, current is delivered to the transmitter 86 and a signal, indicated by wave lines 88, is sent through the air to a receiver unit. The receiver unit is typically located at a location which is remote from the transmitter unit 86, for example, receiver 81 at a nurse's station 70 in a hospital or nursing home. Alternatively, receiver 81 can be located in a parent's room to monitor whether an infant or child at home has urinated and requires attention. The transmitter sends a digitally encoded signal to the receiver which decodes the signals. When, for example, the receiver unit detects the coded signal corresponding to detector 10a, an output signal is produced which causes the activation of an indicator light or alarm 72. This signals the reception of the coded signal via the receiver, and alerts parents, attendants or medical personnel to check on the user to determine if bed clothes or clothing need be changed. Moreover, the person having the detector 10a is identified by activation of indicator 72 so that parents or hospital personnel know which user to check. Similarly, other indicators 74-80 are activated by indicating signals from the transmitters of the other detectors 10b-e. The transmitter 86 and receivers 81 are commercially available. For example, a National Semiconductor LM1871 RC encoder/transmitter is suitable for each transmitter with the corresponding receiver. A multiple channel receiver can also be used.

With such a transmitter and receiver arrangement, a number of urination detection devices may be used at home, in a hospital, a day care center, or nursing home without interfering with one another. That is, each of the devices is designed to receive and send a distinctly different coded signal. Therefore, the various receivers are not inadvertently activated by spurious signals from other devices, or by other interfering signals such as from citizens band radios, other medical equipment, and the like. Medical personnel will therefore immediately be able to determine which of the sensors 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e and so on has been activated, and can promptly respond by examining the appropriate person.

In an alternative embodiment also indicated in FIG. 9, the detectors 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e are connected to receiver 70 by conductors 90a, 90b, 90c, 90d and 90e, respectively. In this case, the transmitter sends the digital encoded signals over the conductors to the receiver. Such "hard wire" connections avoid the necessity of sending signals through the air in an institutional environment where such signals might interfere with the proper functioning of other medical equipment. However, the "hard wire" embodiment is not very practical in environments, such as day care centers, where users of sensors are highly mobile.

In yet another form of a system of the invention, conductors 90a-90e are not directly connected from the console 70 to the detectors. Instead, transmitter 86 in receiver 10a sends a digitally coded signal through the air to a receiver at a signal relay location 92a located in a user's room or at some other nearby location. The receiver at the relay location responds to the received coded signal by delivering an output signal along a conductor 90a to the indicator 72 at console 70. Separate receivers 81 at relay locations 92b, 92c, 92d and 92e may be located in different patient rooms to receive signals respectively from the transmitters of detectors 10b, 10c, 10d and 10e. These receivers produce signals which are conducted along conductors 90b, 90c, 90d and 90e to the indicators 74, 76, 78 and 80, respectively. One advantage of using receivers at local relay locations is that weaker signals 88 are required to activate a local receiver than those required to activate a remote receiver. The weaker signals are less likely to interfere with other electronic equipment than stronger signals that must be used to activate a remote receiver a greater distance away.

Alternate embodiments of pad 11 are shown in FIGS. 4-7. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, pad 11 includes an elongated backing 94 having longitudinal edges 96, 98, an arcuate bottom edge 100 and a flat or straight top edge 102. The electrodes include first and second parallel electrodes 104, 106 which extend, respectively, adjacent and parallel to edges 96, 98 of pad 11. Electrode 104 includes a series of fingers or projections 108a, 108b, 108c, 108d and 108e, while electrode 106 includes a series of fingers 110a, 110b, 110c, 110d and 110e which extend from electrode 106 towards electrode 104, and interdigitate with fingers 108a-e of electrode 104. The interdigitating fingers 108a-e are parallel to the fingers 10a-e. The lesser included angle between electrode 104 and fingers 108a-e is about sixty degrees, and the lesser angle between electrode 106 and fingers 110a-e is also about sixty degrees. Male snap 41 pierces electrode 104 and backing 94 and is retained by backing 94 to establish an electrical connection between electrode 104 and the snap connector when snap 34 is coupled to snap 41. Male snap 39 similarly pierces electrode 106 and is retained by backing 94 to establish an electrical connection between electrode 106 and the snap connector. The interdigitating electrodes 108, 110 decrease the distance that must be bridged by liquid to complete the circuit and sound an alarm. This reduced distance between electrode sections increases the sensitivity of the detector. Also, the angled positioning of the electrode fingers relative to the edges of the backing allows virtually the entire sensor pad to be used in sensing moisture from a user.

Another embodiment of pad 11 is shown in FIG. 5, in which pad 11 includes an elongated backing 120 having longitudinal edges 122, 124, an arcuate bottom edge 126 and a flat top edge 128. Paired parallel electrodes 130, 132 are positioned, respectively, adjacent and parallel to edges 122, 124 of pad 11. Male snap 41 pierces electrode 122 and backing 120 and is retained by backing 120 for establishing an electrical connection between electrode 130 and the snap connector. Male snap 39 similarly pierces electrode 132 and is retained by backing 120.

The embodiment of pad 11 shown in FIG. 6 uses another electrode configuration which diminishes the distance between the electrodes to increase their sensivitity. Pad 11 includes a backing 134 having longitudinal edges 135, 136, an arcuate bottom edge 137, and a flat top edge 138. A first, inner electrode 140 is substantially U-shaped with a closed, curved end 142 and an opposite open end bounded by parallel electrode legs 144, 146 which are respectively parallel to longitudinal edges 135, 136. An enlarged terminal portion 148 of leg 144 is positioned adjacent to edge 138 and receives male snap connector 41. A second electrode 150 includes a U-shaped portion between electrode 140 and edges 135, 136 and 137. Electrode 150 has a closed curved end 152, and legs 154, 156 which are substantially parallel to legs 144, 146, respectively. Second electrode 150 additionally includes a third leg portion 158 which extends into the open end of the U formed by electrode 140. Third leg 158 runs parallel to legs 144, 146 and terminates adjacent to, but short of, portion 142 of electrode 140. Legs 156 and 158 of electrode 150 are joined by an electrically conductive enlarged area 160. Male snap 39 pierces area 160 to establish an electrical connection between the snap and electrode 150.

The embodiment of pad 11 shown in FIG. 7 is designed to fit comfortably in the pubic and perianal areas of a user. This design also increases the sensitivity of the detector by diminishing the spacing between the electrodes from top to bottom of the sensor. The pad includes an elongated, truncated triangular backing 170 having a flat top edge 172, inclined edges 174, 176, and a curved apical edge 178. A pair of electrodes 180, 182 extend longitudinally along pad 11 parallel to edges 174, 176, respectively. Electrodes 180, 182 incline towards one another along their lengths, being most distantly spaced from each other near top edge 172 and closest together at apex 178. The terminal portion of each electrode 180, 182 adjacent top edge 172 is enlarged to form a conductive area 184, 186, respectively, through which metal snaps 39, 41 are placed.

The triangular shape of the pad in FIG. 7 comfortably conforms to the pubic and perianal areas of a wearer. The short distance between electrodes 180, 182 near apex 178 reduces the amount of liquid urine which must moisten the pad between the electrodes to complete the circuit and sound an alarm.

FIG. 10 illustrates a three layered embodiment of pad 11 which is similar in shape to the pad shown in FIG. 5, and corresponding parts are given reference numerals similar to the pad in FIG. 5. Electrodes 130, 132 are painted on backing 120, dried and then covered by a liquid permeable or absorbent layer 125, such as absorbent paper, polyolefin sheet, or cotton cloth with a self-adhesive face, which sticks to backing 120 and electrodes 130, 132 when pressed against them. After the layers of the pad are assembled, snap 39 is secured in place through cover layer 125, electrode 132 and backing 120. Similarly, snap 41 is secured in place through cover layer 125, electrode 130 and backing 120.

The embodiment of the pad shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 is similar to that of FIG. 10, but it contains an additional absorbent layer 190 between a cover sheet 192 and backing sheet 194. As in the embodiment of FIG. 10, electrodes 196, 198 are painted on backing 194 and dried. A thick optional layer of highly absorbent material, such as natural or synthetic fibers, including cotton 190, is placed over the electrodes 196, 198. Absorbent cover sheet 192 is then positioned over absorbent layer 190, and sheets 192, 194 are sealed to one another along a U-shaped seam 200 around the sides and lower periphery of layer 190. Backing and cover sheets may be of heat fusible or heat settable materials, such as polyester and polypropylene, and heat sealed at seam 200. As shown in FIG. 12, the backing and cover sheets may be cut, for example, at 201, outside of the seam 200 so that a softer edge is provided to the pad to minimize irritation to a user.

In use, any of the pads 11 (FIGS. 4-7 and 11-12) are connected to indicator 20 by pressing together snaps 30, 39 and snaps 34, 41 to establish an electrical connection between the electrodes of pad 11 and the circuitry 28. Pad 11 is then placed within garment 12 over the pubic and perianal area with backing sheet (for example, 120 or 194) directed anteriorly. The electrodes will face posteriorly against the body of the user. A liquid permeable sheet (such as 125 in FIG. 10) or both a liquid permeable sheet and an absorbent layer (such as 190 and 192 in FIG. 12) is between the electrodes and body. If the user of the device urinates, the absorbent sheet and/or layer quickly soaks up the liquid and becomes electrically conductive to complete the circuit between the electrodes and activate alarm buzzer 44 or signal lights 72-80, or both.

As shown in FIG. 1, pad 11 is positioned over the pubic and perianal areas inside a diaper 12 with snaps 30, 39 and snaps 34, 41 near the waist portion of the diaper. The opposite end of pad 11 may optionally be secured to the inside face of diaper 12 with a piece of tape 202 or a pin (not shown). Strips 32, 36 are supported on a flexible flap connected to the housing for indicator 20. This flap is draped over the waist of diaper 12 so that indicator 20 hangs in front of the diaper (FIGS. 1 and 2). Indicator 20 can be secured in place against the outside face of diaper 12 with, for example, double-faced adhesive tape. The compact size of indicator 20 prevents it from annoying the user while he is sleeping.

Numerous other variations are possible. For example, connectors other than snaps 30, 39, 34, 41 can be used to make electrical contact with the electrodes 14, 16. The snaps can be replaced, for example, by alligator clips. Battery 24 can, moreover, be replaced by a source of 110 volt alternating current.

Although the disclosed embodiment of sensor 12 uses conductive ink electrodes, other materials may be used for the electrodes. For example, the electrodes can be layers of foil glued to one or both faces of backing 13. Alternatively, strips of metallic paint can serve as the electrodes. The electrodes can be arranged in any configuration, and may be placed at greater or lesser distances from one another to vary the sensitivity of detector 10.

The detector 10 is also suitable for sensing the presence of moistures from persons other than urine, for example, blood or bodily exudates.

When used to sense urination, detector 10 is especially useful in toilet training infants and preventing bed-wetting by older children. Bed-wetting is stopped, for example, if local alarm 44 sounds to awaken the user as soon as urine begins to flow.

Having illustrated and described the principles of my invention with reference to several preferred embodiments, it should be apparent to those persons skilled in the art that such invention may be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. I claim as my invention all such modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the following claims.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2866454 *Aug 7, 1957Dec 30, 1958Mckenzie Stanley CTherapeutic device
US2874695 *Jul 20, 1956Feb 24, 1959Vaniman Charles AEnuresis napkin assembly
US3245068 *Aug 2, 1963Apr 5, 1966Edward W McgrathCalibrated body fluid detection device
US3460123 *Jul 14, 1965Aug 5, 1969Bass Jack VClothing alarm means
US3530855 *Jun 7, 1968Sep 29, 1970Balding George HEnuretic control device
US3581208 *Dec 16, 1968May 25, 1971Gerald F WoodardEmergency warning and identification apparatus for two-way radio communication system
US3588858 *Jun 7, 1968Jun 28, 1971Atlantic Richfield CoSafety alarm system
US3678928 *Feb 19, 1970Jul 25, 1972Mozes AlexanderHygienic device for detecting unintentional urination
US3696357 *Apr 15, 1970Oct 3, 1972Kilgore Bernard WEnuresis prevention training device
US3809078 *Jul 20, 1972May 7, 1974Mozes ADetector device for detecting unintentional urination
US3832993 *Sep 13, 1972Sep 3, 1974W ClippBlood detecting device
US3972320 *Aug 12, 1974Aug 3, 1976Gabor Ujhelyi KalmanPatient monitoring system
US4106001 *May 12, 1977Aug 8, 1978Kurt MahoneyMoisture detector
US4191950 *Jun 28, 1978Mar 4, 1980Levin Anne FAnti-bed-wetting device
US4205671 *Sep 2, 1977Jun 3, 1980Kurt Ingvard Arnold JallerOutflow detector and control arrangement
US4205672 *Nov 28, 1977Jun 3, 1980Karel DvorakConductivity sensing device for diapers
US4212295 *May 12, 1978Jul 15, 1980Nite Train-R Enterprises, Inc.Moisture responsive pad for treatment of enuresis
US4539559 *Mar 29, 1982Sep 3, 1985Hugh KellyPortable, disposable warning device for detecting urine-wet undergarments
US4640276 *Mar 20, 1985Feb 3, 1987Jing Sheng TsengSuper-thin enuresis alarm
US4675656 *May 30, 1986Jun 23, 1987Narcisse Bernadine OOut-of-range personnel monitor and alarm
US4736752 *Nov 28, 1986Apr 12, 1988Axelgaard Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Transcutaneous medical electrode
US4738260 *Apr 18, 1985Apr 19, 1988Travis Industries, Inc.Unintentional urination sensing device
US4754264 *May 28, 1986Jun 28, 1988Nippon Kodoshi CorporationWater content detecting device for diaper
US4795456 *Oct 8, 1987Jan 3, 1989Avery International CorporationStretchable diaper tab
US4800370 *Oct 7, 1985Jan 24, 1989I E Sensors, Inc.Wetness detection system
FR2529080A1 * Title not available
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1 *Page 534 from Sears Catalog (Items 6 and 7) for Bed Wetting Alarms.
2Page 534 from Sears Catalog (Items 6 and 7) for Bed-Wetting Alarms.
3 *Page 693 from J. C. Penney Catalog for Bedwetting Alarm.
4Sales Literature Entitled "Eastleigh II Enuresis Alarm System Program for Home Care Dealers" from Electronic Monitors, Inc. (5pp).
5Sales Literature Entitled "Enuretic Alarm" from Nytone Medical Products, Inc. (2pp).
6Sales Literature Entitled "Help for Bedwetting" from Palco Labs (6pp).
7 *Sales Literature Entitled Eastleigh II Enuresis Alarm System Program for Home Care Dealers from Electronic Monitors, Inc. (5pp).
8 *Sales Literature Entitled Enuretic Alarm from Nytone Medical Products, Inc. (2pp).
9 *Sales Literature Entitled Help for Bedwetting from Palco Labs (6pp).
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5137033 *Jul 15, 1991Aug 11, 1992Norton John LPatient monitoring device
US5161541 *Mar 5, 1991Nov 10, 1992EdentecFlow sensor system
US5264830 *Sep 18, 1992Nov 23, 1993Little Acorn Ventures, Inc.Apparatus for sensing wet diaper
US5266928 *May 29, 1992Nov 30, 1993Johnson Lonnie GWet diaper detector
US5291181 *Mar 30, 1992Mar 1, 1994Deponte Dominic AWet bed alarm and temperature monitoring system
US5392032 *Nov 23, 1993Feb 21, 1995Little Acorn VenturesApparatus for sensing wet diaper including circuit breaker
US5459452 *Feb 16, 1993Oct 17, 1995Deponte; Dominic A.Wet bed and patient wander alarm system with snap-on and magnet transmitter assembly
US5557263 *Jul 20, 1993Sep 17, 1996Health Sense International, Inc.System for detection of electrically conductive fluids
US5568128 *Nov 14, 1994Oct 22, 1996Nair; Rajesh M.Self learning diaper wetness detector and toilet trainer
US5573004 *Oct 6, 1994Nov 12, 1996Edentec CorporationElectrically stable electrode and sensor apparatus
US5579765 *May 30, 1995Dec 3, 1996Cox; Danny L.Monitor to detect bleeding
US5760694 *May 7, 1996Jun 2, 1998Knox Security Engineering CorporationMoisture detecting devices such as for diapers and diapers having such devices
US5790036 *Sep 17, 1996Aug 4, 1998Health Sense International, Inc.Sensor material for use in detection of electrically conductive fluids
US5808554 *Dec 28, 1995Sep 15, 1998Shuminov; AsherMoisture detecting liner for a diaper and a process for manufacture thereof
US5838240 *May 8, 1995Nov 17, 1998Johnson Research & Development Company, Inc.Wet diaper detector
US5868723 *Jul 15, 1997Feb 9, 1999Al-Sabah; Sabah NaserMoisture sensing and audio indicating apparatus for garments and associated methods
US6040775 *May 19, 1998Mar 21, 2000Nill, Jr.; Andrew J.Roof vents with moisture detectors and roof systems incorporating same
US6163262 *Mar 15, 1999Dec 19, 2000Ber-Lin WuUrine detecting and signalling device for use in a diaper
US6223750 *May 27, 1999May 1, 2001Nihon Kohden CorporationUrinary incontinence treatment instrument
US6225909Jan 27, 2000May 1, 2001Andrew J. Nill, Jr.Roof vents with moisture detectors and roof systems incorporating same
US6246330May 29, 1998Jun 12, 2001Wyn Y. NielsenElimination-absorber monitoring system
US6292102Jun 16, 2000Sep 18, 2001Bed-Check CorporationApparatus for detecting enuresis in a patient
US6341393Oct 17, 1998Jan 29, 2002Ergodyne CorporationPatient transfer and repositioning system
US6373395 *May 28, 1999Apr 16, 2002Paul KimseyMoisture detector
US6384728Mar 17, 2000May 7, 2002Toys For Special Children, Inc.Personal care monitoring system
US6478744Dec 18, 2000Nov 12, 2002Sonomedica, LlcMethod of using an acoustic coupling for determining a physiologic signal
US6517775 *Nov 19, 1999Feb 11, 2003Abbott LaboratoriesSterilant monitoring assembly and apparatus and method using same
US6537491 *Jul 26, 1999Mar 25, 2003Abbott LaboratoriesAccurately measuring hydrogen peroxide vapor levels
US6559772 *Jul 24, 2001May 6, 2003Farnaz ZandStrip of efficient capillary liquid transfer wick; signal for urine in diapers; screen printed conductive ink bands; dental bibs
US6579247May 28, 1999Jun 17, 2003Alcor Medical Instruments, Inc.Device for monitoring bladder urine distension in patients, and a method thereof
US6583722 *Dec 12, 2000Jun 24, 2003Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Wetness signaling device
US6750773 *May 7, 2002Jun 15, 2004Falcon Waterfree TechnologiesLiquid flow meter
US6756521Jan 22, 2001Jun 29, 2004Norbert BreitkopfMoisture sensing and indicating system
US7022098Apr 10, 2002Apr 4, 2006Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems and methods
US7071830 *Jul 3, 2002Jul 4, 2006Bioett AbMoisture sensor
US7138088Apr 10, 2002Nov 21, 2006Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection system and methods
US7147615 *Jun 22, 2001Dec 12, 2006Baxter International Inc.Needle dislodgement detection
US7250547Nov 7, 2000Jul 31, 2007Rf Technologies, Inc.Wetness monitoring system
US7280441Nov 30, 2004Oct 9, 2007Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Visual indicator chronograph and the use of the same
US7352286 *Aug 26, 2005Apr 1, 2008Chan Yung CDiaper warning alarm device, and system
US7355090Aug 31, 2005Apr 8, 2008Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Method of detecting the presence of insults in an absorbent article
US7416531Oct 4, 2002Aug 26, 2008Mohler Sailor HSystem and method of detecting and processing physiological sounds
US7498478Aug 31, 2005Mar 3, 2009Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Method of detecting the presence of an insult in an absorbent article
US7605710Aug 18, 2006Oct 20, 2009Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc.Wetness sensor
US7649125Aug 31, 2005Jan 19, 2010Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Method of detecting the presence of an insult in an absorbent article and device for detecting the same
US7666151Nov 20, 2002Feb 23, 2010Hoana Medical, Inc.Devices and methods for passive patient monitoring
US7682328Jan 16, 2006Mar 23, 2010Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems and methods
US7737321 *Sep 23, 2003Jun 15, 2010Elliott Nyle Scolostomy alert device and method
US7829181Aug 31, 2005Nov 9, 2010Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.graphic and/or message display system has a hidden graphic or message on an indicator panel; revealed when an obscuring graphic reacts with a solvent to change color; use on products to alert the wearer
US7834235Aug 31, 2006Nov 16, 2010Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.System for interactively training a child and a caregiver to assist the child to overcome bedwetting
US7858839Feb 17, 2009Dec 28, 2010Oakington Corp.Colostomy alert device and method
US7959594Jan 25, 2006Jun 14, 2011Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems and methods
US7973667Sep 10, 2009Jul 5, 2011Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc.Wetness sensor
US7977529May 2, 2007Jul 12, 2011Fred Bergman Healthcare Pty Ltd.Incontinence management system and diaper
US8000792Apr 28, 2009Aug 16, 2011Dechev George DFast-acting counter-incontinence method and device
US8114043Jul 25, 2008Feb 14, 2012Baxter International Inc.Electromagnetic induction access disconnect sensor
US8137300Mar 19, 2010Mar 20, 2012Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems and methods using conductive contacts
US8237573Nov 15, 2010Aug 7, 2012Bhatia Saket SAlarm unit for monitoring or detection of an analyte
US8253573 *Mar 25, 2010Aug 28, 2012Saket Subash BhatiaAlarm unit for monitoring or detection of an analyte
US8334425Jun 27, 2007Dec 18, 2012Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Interactive garment printing for enhanced functionality of absorbent articles
US8431766 *May 4, 2010Apr 30, 2013Patrick H. LoneroDiaper with wetness detecting system
US8444585Jan 29, 2010May 21, 2013Baxter International Inc.Catheter needle retention and placement monitoring system and method
US8529490Jun 9, 2011Sep 10, 2013Baxter International Inc.Systems and methods for dialysis access disconnection
US8546639 *Nov 20, 2008Oct 1, 2013Uni-Charm CorporationUrine suction device
US8632486Jan 4, 2012Jan 21, 2014Baxter International Inc.Electromagnetic induction access disconnect systems
US8708946Mar 5, 2012Apr 29, 2014Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems using conductive contacts
US8801646Dec 10, 2012Aug 12, 2014Baxter International Inc.Access disconnection systems with arterial and venous line conductive pathway
US8808218Jan 29, 2010Aug 19, 2014Baxter International Inc.Needle placement detection and security device and method
US20100283617 *Aug 7, 2009Nov 11, 2010Chih-Ming HuangDiaper alarm system
US20110040267 *Nov 20, 2008Feb 17, 2011Ichiro WadaUrine Suction Device
US20110198222 *Nov 15, 2010Aug 18, 2011Theos Medical Systems, Inc.Electrolyte sensor using conductive elastomer
US20110234400 *Mar 25, 2010Sep 29, 2011Theos Medical Systems, IncAlarm unit for monitoring or detection of an analyte
US20130013022 *Feb 14, 2011Jan 10, 2013De Oliveira Barroso Junior UbirajaraEnuresis Electroconditioner
EP0911000A1 *May 19, 1998Apr 28, 1999Nicoletta TacchinoSystem for monitoring the emission of organic fluids by an incontinent person
EP1063624A1 *Jul 20, 1993Dec 27, 2000Health Sense International, Inc.System for detection of electrically conductive fluids
WO1996025904A1 *Feb 21, 1996Aug 29, 1996Twist Wilhelmus Theodorus FranAssembly for detecting and signalizing wetness
WO1999062402A1May 28, 1999Dec 9, 1999Aharon AbramovitchA device for monitoring bladder urine distention in patients, and a method thereof
WO2001006975A1 *Jul 21, 2000Feb 1, 2001Bed Check CorpApparatus for detecting enuresis in a patient
WO2008048078A1 *Oct 22, 2007Apr 24, 2008Jung Hyun KimSensor for bed-wetting
WO2011117686A1 *Nov 16, 2010Sep 29, 2011Theos Medical Systems, Inc.Alarm unit for monitoring or detection of an analyte
Classifications
U.S. Classification600/547, 128/886, 340/573.5
International ClassificationA61F13/15, A61F13/42, A61F5/48
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2013/8479, A61F13/42, A61F5/48
European ClassificationA61F5/48
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 30, 2003FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Feb 2, 1999FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Jan 24, 1995FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
May 29, 1991ASAssignment
Owner name: TRAVIS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:TRAVIS INDUSTRIES, INC. A CORPORATION OF OREGON;REEL/FRAME:005715/0559
Effective date: 19910305
Oct 13, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: TRAVIS INDUSTRIES, INC., 100 MAIN-SUMNER, COOS BAY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BROWN, KEITH A.;REEL/FRAME:004965/0149
Effective date: 19880928
Owner name: TRAVIS INDUSTRIES, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BROWN, KEITH A.;REEL/FRAME:004965/0149